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Hardball With Chris Matthews

News/Business. (2012) New. (CC)




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Us 15, Fema 13, Delaware 12, Sandy 12, New York City 10, West Virginia 6, New York 5, Irene 4, United States 4, Washington 4, Obama 4, Jim Cantore 3, Michael Brown 3, Romney 3, Rehoboth 3, New Jersey 3, North Carolina 3, Rehema Ellis 2, Dewey 2, Christie 2,
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  MSNBC    Hardball With Chris Matthews    News/Business.   
   (2012) New. (CC)  

    October 29, 2012
    2:00 - 3:00pm PDT  

your reporting, and you be safe yourself. i can see even by looking at you that the wind is picking up. thank you so much. and thanks so much for watching. chris matthews and "hardball" is next. facing the storm. let's play "hardball." good evening. i'm chris matthews in washington. let me start tonight with the storm but also the society and the leadership that's facing it tonight. this is not the first storm this president has led us through. he came into office facing the full blast of the worst wall street collapse in eight decades, a jobless rate spiking to double digits, and amid republicans sitting under their desks saying, no, no, this can't be happening, no, no, no to every step the new president took to regulate wall street, to pull us back from the economic cliff, to reform health care, to equalize pay between the sexes, to end the war in iraq, to pound
al qaeda into destruction and, of course, to cut off its head. tonight this president, who has prevailed against so many storms, both natural and manmade, stands on post, in the same situation room where he directed the killing of bin laden. again, the officer in charge through pair louse times. here is where things stand at 5:00 eastern. the storm is expected to make landfall in southern new jersey or in delaware within the hour. the slow-moving storm is expected to batter the northeast into tomorrow with winds remaining strong by midafternoon. wind gusts in new york city had reached 60 miles per hour already and were expected to climb throughout the night and into tomorrow. this is going to last. already it's caused massive damage. in atlantic city, part of the famous boardwalk has washed away. and a large part of the city was under water late today. along the shore in maryland and delaware, communities are dealing with wide scale flooding, with parts of ocean city, maryland, and rehoboth beach, delaware, already underwater. in manhattan police closed off streets around a building where
a crane collapsed and remains dangling there, and trains, subways and other public transportation systems have been suspended in cities from boston down to washington, d.c. nearly 14,000 flights have been grounded. we begin our coverage with nbc in rehoboth beach. thank you for joining us. give us an update on what's happening where you're standing. i think you're in the water right there. >> reporter: yeah. this is actually the atlantic ocean, and, chris, you know this area probably very well. this is a popular destination for a lot of d.c. folks. but take a look at the ocean right now. this is actually low tide but in a matter of three hours or so and this is what the governor is really concerned about, we're going to get the high tide conditions and all day this water has been slowly and steadily pushing towards this area. you can see what it's done to the fence here, but by the time it comes around 8:00 tonight and well past the midnight hour, we
anticipate that a lot of the water is going to be pushing up onto this boardwalk and pushing up against the sea walls as well. the governor just had a briefing a short while ago. he gave us an update. there's 6600 people without power right now. he anticipates that number will climb as the storm approaches. he also says for now it seems like the infrastructure of the coastal areas of delaware are holding firm right now, and they attribute a lot of that to the coastal restoration they had this year, but obviously a lot of that work is going to be undone because of what you're seeing with these waves crashing along the beach. some areas of delaware, especially just south of here, dewey beach, are impassable at this point. they say because of the heating of the -- or the 3457ndtory e c evacuation order, 50,000 residents were cleared out. there are no reports of deaths or injuries and the governor is attributing that to their heeding of that warning. he so far he says the infrastructure is holding up but
he says they can't get complacent because between 8:00 and past midnight they say that's going to be the true test of the infrastructure here. these when the high tide rolls in and that's when a lot of action could happen, chris. >> we're going to have the governor on later in the program, the governor of delaware, to give us an update himself. what's happening with the traffic down there, route 1, for example? is everything shut down? >> reporter: it's basically a ghost town right now, chris. it's hard to find anybody at a store. the governor actually ordered all the businesses in and around this area to be shut down at 6:00 last night. there are roads that are impassable. if anybody did decide to stay, he says that is going to be a mistake, but he says if at this time they did decide to stay, the only thing they can do is hunker down because there are no businesses, very few gas stations open. they're going to have to stay where they are pretty much all night and well into the next day because they anticipate when the power does go out, it will take maybe, he's anticipating probably a week until they can get it on because a lot of the utility workers will be
responding to a swid swath of areas right now. he says if this is going to have a wide massive power outage, they're going to be stuck for quite a while. >> how far inland -- basically sea level down there at rehob h rehoboth. how far in can the ocean come tonight do you think based upon where you're at? >> right now if you take a look from where i'm standing, this is low tide obviously, but this has been lapping up and take a look at the boardwalk. you soo he that fence. we anticipate that the water is going to be pushing up along that fence where our hotel and our holding position is right now. that's sort of going to be our threshold. we anticipate that's -- the water is going to be rushing up there sometime tonight but, you know, hopefully if the storm somehow spares this area, but because of the high tide and because of the power of the storm coming in, we do anticipate a lot of that water that you're seeing behind me is going to start pushing up against the boardwalk and we don't know if that boardwalk is going to hold but that will be
the true test tonight. >> let me ask you about where the center is going to hit. we talked a few moments before you came on about the storm coming in at new jersey, southern new jersey, down around cape may at the bottom there, or in delaware. what's going to hit the hardest? can you tell yet? what part of jersey or delaware itself? >> reporter: it's right now it looks like it's tracking north, chris. i believe it's going to hit a little bit north and further into new jersey than down here, but this is such a massive storm, such a wide storm, that we've been seeing effects of the storm for the past two days. now we're probably starting to get into the worst of it. it's come around 8:00 when the tide comes in. the winds have been pretty steady right now. they've been predicting we should have gusts of up to 60 miles an hour or so. we haven't really felt that but we have had some strong gusts of wind throughout the day. the rain has been pretty steady but for now this is probably going to be the worst of it. but obviously as high tide comes in, we're going to see this get even higher and then that water
starting to push up against that wall that we've been referring to, chris. >> tranh, i think having grown up on the jersey shore, i thought of all the almost of billions of dollars the federal government has spent trying to save those beaches and restore them again and again every few years. this is going to wreak havoc on all that construction of really beautiful beach we've had over the recent years. >> reporter: absolutely. and actually this boardwalk what i'm told is that this boardwalk used stimulus money to restore it. so if this does go under, obviously that's going to be a big challenge to restore it. but a lot of money has been invested into beach restoration and i did ask the governor how much money in terms of oon economic impact that he anticipated in terms of a shutdown because obviously the state government is shut down. nobody is going to work at the state government, and a big mass of businesses here have closed as well. so you can imagine people not working. that's going to be a huge economic loss, but he said the most important thing is that there are no lives lost at this point. he says he'll deal with the economic losses later as long as
they can save lives at this point, chris. >> great reporting. great to have you on. you're at rehoboth beach. what does the storm mean for the presidential election. we're joined by david corn sitting with me, washington bureau chief for mother jones. david, this is an odd thing but here we are week before an election. the election will be held. we've been holding them since 1788 every two years we hold elections and this is happening. i'm going to talk later in the show, is this the black swan we always hear about, the strange thing like the dui charge that almost cost bush the election. that cost him his plurality. >> i think we won't know until the end of the week. right now we see the campaign sort of in a state of suspension. the president canceled his campaign events and mitt romney has done the same. the president -- >> but not before coming out against fema. now, this is where i talk about the strange things. it's not just the weather. it's the conjunction of weather and politics. now, not long ago in june we're going to look at a picture now, this is when the republican candidate for president, mitt romney, went on the usual
ideological facet people take saying let's get rid of this and let the states handle it. nobody is saying that tonight. >> fema is about to rub out of money. some people say maybe we're learning a lesson that the states should take on more of this role. >> absolutely. every time you have an occasion to take something from the federal government and send it back to the states, that's the right direction. and if you can go even further and send it back to the private sector, that's even better. we're borrowing $1.6 trillion more this year than we're taking in. >> including disaster relief. >> we cannot afford to do those things without jeopardizing the future for tour kids. it is simply immoral in my view to rack up larger and larger debts and pass them onto our kids knowing full well we'll all be dead and gone before it's paid off. makes no sense at all. >> okay. here is his math. add $2 billion to defense budget, add $5 billion in tax cuts and get rid of fema.
do you think that's a popular priority right now? >> i don't think it is. look at a state like north carolina. we saw earlier today that the north carolina outer banks have been run over by water and what about the federal flood insurance program that people out there take advantage of? not just fema and all the stimulus money and other federal project that is have developed that part of the country for all of us? you know, it's not just what he said at that debate. the ryan budget, which he endorses, would eviscerate fema and all these sort of programs. now, i know we don't want to play politics right now when it's a dangerous moment, but it's the type of thing that brings to question what he warrants to do versus what the president wants to do. >> i think this isn't a case of big bird, it's a case of big bath here. joy reid is also joining us. isn't it interesting how chickens come home to roost, things occur that teach people who they need government for, what they don't need it for. we look at the pictures, conjunctive with you right now as we're looking at you, joy. these scenes of where -- only
one government can do everything. you can't have a fema for every state. it would be redundant. >> absolutely. you called it ron rald reagan said the most terrifying words in the government are i'm from the government, i'm here to help. when you have a natural disaster, that's what people want to hear. the federal government is the only entity with the size and breadth and the ability to help people in these situations. and you know what, chris -- >> and the shared risk. never forget that. >> exactly. >> every state doesn't face this. seven or eight states may face this. >> i listened to injure discussion. there's a fundamental hypocrisy in this constant drum beat to privatize. if you look at what we've done with military spending, where we have these private contractors, where do they get the incentive and the money to do the things that they do supposedly privately? they get it from the federal government. it's contracts that go to private businesses but they come from the federal government. whether it's the olympics that mitt romney got tons of federal money for or whether it's
halliburton getting federal money to go in and rebuild iraq, or whether it's something if you privatize the function of disaster relief, the money would still come from government. >> yeah. donald trump is probably out there somewhere saying the president is doing a rain dance or something. look, they're going to have some weird excuse for this. if the president looks good handle this, they will come up with something. don't put it past them. >> some secret weather machine autop. there's an issue, do you what ryan and romney want to do, you won't have money for noaa, for weather research, for climate research. >> you know the federal government and so does joy. the governor gets on the phone. who does he call? >> he calls the president. >> and he asks for can you get me some help from knee fema. then i was working on this project back in the carter administration when we created fema. do you know why we created it? so this would be handled by one federal unit. along the way, joy, this is purely partisan observation, w,
president george w. bush, did not take this job seriously. not just going into iraq which was wrong. he created a federal agency and turned it into run by what was that guys name? michael brown. >> it was brown. >> brownie. >> alba was the other guy. michael brown, you're doing a great job brownie. a guy from the arabian horse ration association and put him on charge showing how much focus he had on this kind of disaster situation. >> he turned it into a patronage job and republicans like to claim democrats basically use government for patronage but george wumplt bush famously took almost federal agency as a place to park executives. when he put michael brown into fema it was a slap in the face to the notion that the federal government's job is to step in and help people with disasters. he thought anybody could do it. >> thank you, david corn, and
thank you, joy. in all seriousness, this is a serious situation, but this brings up the serious decisions the voters have to make. i think we need a federal rogue. coming up, we will continue to track hurricane sandy it bears down. we'll watch the pictures as they occur. we'll talk to the weather channel's jim cantore down in lower manhattan where there's a lot going on with the high storm surge expected to rise and a crane has toppled in midtown manhattan because of all this wind. this is "hardball," live coverage of hurricane sandy. back with more after this.
welcome back to "hardball." hurricane sandy will make landfall in a few hours and while millions along the east coast have yet to see the wors , this storm has to offer, residents are already getting a taste of sandy's wrath, if you will. 375,000 residents were ordered to evacuate from new york city
in advance of hurricane sandy's rough winds and high water. the weather channel's jim cantore is with us tonight from battery park, that's in lower manhattan at the very bottom. jim, i see the rough seas out there. this doesn't make any sense to me historically. i grew up in a country, philadelphia, where you had a certain number of snows every winter which were normal. you had your hurricane season around august/september and it was down south. now what is this? we're not getting involved in the big fight over global warming or climate change. what is going on? >> reporter: this is just a late season hybrid. here is the deal. what we've seen in the last several days, i will try to make it as brief as i can, chris, is what we call high latitude blocking. what climatologists and meteorologists are looking at is the fact that the globe are warming and we're seeing what we call high latitude blocks, and what that does is just like a traffic jam, when the traffic stops up there, it's going to eventually stop right here. and, unfortunately, that's
starting to have implications on what's going on with our midlatitude weather systems. more droughts, more floods, more strange systems like this that we certainly aren't used to seeing. that's potentially what's going on here. that's everybody's kind of first stab at it. but what this means is we've had something that started off as a hurricane, still has a hurricane part to it that's become now a nor'easter and is going to produce blizzard-like conditions in west virginia. plus, because of this blocking, it has come north and now hooked off to the left. we have never seen that. we have never seen that. so this is a storm that's going to come in we think somewhere around cape may, new jersey, within an hour or two. it may miss cape may and come in in delaware. either way it's already produced a storm surge in the battery of 6.6 feet. that's the rise in the water just from the low pressure itself, okay? so the high tide comes in, here it is at 9:00, and that means we've got to add the tide now to that 6.6 foot rise. that's going to bring the water because i remember i was here with irene, it was up to the top
of these benches. now you're talking about water that's going to be about this high. so i think it's without question that we're going to flood the battery here. how much of this water gets in the subway system, i don't know. >> what about the wind? >> a lot of reports suggest -- what was that? >> are we going to see something like you see in kansas where you see roofs blown over after acres and acres of property. are we going to see that kind of wind damage in the northeast this time? >> reporter: don't think of what i'm getting here is representative of the wind because it's really not. i'm protected from the buildings. but we have gusts already out at montauk at 71. this is not like where you're going to have 130-mile-per-hour winds, so, no, the answer to that question is no, but there will be so much tree damage we think across interior pennsylvania and new york and new jersey, even parts of new england, back down through west virginia that that's a big concern. i mean, we're going to have, you know, multiple power outages and for many millions we think will
be without power with this storm. believe it or not, the forecast is for -- or at least earlier was for record surge at the battery. i don't think we're going to get that. but also for record storm surge on the great lakes. that's unprecedented. 900 miles wide, that's the tropical storm wind field with this. something we've just certainly never seen before, something this big and this sprawled out. >> you cover natural events and meteorology, i cover politics. i'm thinking it's now monday, a week before an election. are we going to have this damage getting in the way of voters next tuesday and between now and then? obviously between now and then. >> reporter: that's a great question. i mean, i think, you know, the president certainly has a chance to show up over the next few days and be talking about this as we have seen from president obama. we also have obviously the chance to have extended power outages depending on the type of potential destruction here. so, yes, i think there will be places, there will be towns that will be without power for several days, if not maybe even
ten days, and that takes us certainly well into election time and past that could certainly be implicated with this weather system. >> you know, it's amazing to go to the stores. i withant to a bunch of cvss yesterday looking around for batteries. c battery, d batteries, they're all gone. you assume they'll always be on the shelves. it's just gone. people are in for the long haul i think without electricity. >> well, you know what? that's -- what we saw with this early on was the potential for this wind damage and these power outages. so, you know, when quur talking about 60 million people that will be impacted and forecasting 10 million people without power, you're going to lose batteries off shelves. there's a lot of places in upstate new york that have run out of generators because people just don't want to be without power for that long. you know what? this is late october. behind this it's going to get cold. so you're going to need the heat on in the house and that's something, you know, people want to deal with. it's a little bit easier to stay
indoors when it's 75, 85 degrees outside in the summer like you would get with a tropical system but not when it's 35 or 45. the house gets very, very cold and uncomfortable to stay in. >> let me ask you about water level. i have heard about new york city retrofitting itself for a higher sea level and the fact it's going to happen over time. now you have this first incidence of water level, the lincoln tunnel, the holland tunnel is closed. how much damage can water do to a metropolis like new york? >> oh, my goodness, you get water in the subway system and you start dealing with the electrical transmission lines and, you know, you could have extensive damage there. as a matter of fact, if they start hearing that those tunnels are filling with water, you know, you know what you do -- and we see this all the time with tropical systems, they will shut down the electric grid. they will start shutting down to prevent power loss in transformers, you know, dealing with all that electricity. so, you know, i think that's the big thing.
and i think 7 to 9:00 tonight we'll find out if we're going to get water in the subways. but if reports were from last year with irene that we were within a foot of getting water in the subways and now the surge is already 2.2 feet higher than it was with irene, there's a pretty good chance we could get it in the subway. >> i hear the lincoln is still working. let me ask you about just back again to the beginning where we started, history and where this fits in. where does this storm fit into history? is it something new in terms of climate change that wouldn't have occurred in the past 50 or 100 years? is it new? >> reporter: first of all, we're only in chapter two of ten because i don't think we've seen all this can do yet. but chapter two is going to state like this. it's going to say the lowest pressure ever north of cape hatteras, north carolina, has come into the east coast of the united states. at 940 millibars. that's where this thing stands right no the previous low pressure was 1938 with the long island
express hurricane that came up and slammed long island and new york and n e with a pressure of946 millibars. so we are 6 millibars lower. the pressure, of course, a measure of the deepness of the storm, the intensity of the storm, and the lower that pressure typically the stronger the storm. sitting at 940 and that right there is chapter two, history in the making. >> where is the statue of liberty right there behind you? is that right behind you? >> frank, statue of liberty, i don't know if you can zoom out to it. you can see it kind of in the haze but notice out there, too, almost at the top of the water there, the white caps that are showing up and then there's kind of this white area where it looks like there's a much stronger wind. obviously once you get away from the building and things, it's blowing like crazy out there. like i said, don't be thinking that the winds we're dealing with here are representative of what's going on in new york right now. you get into some of those high rices and they're about a category stronger. we have a category 1 hurricane,
it's a category 2 on top of these high rises. >> jim cantore, you're the best obviously. thank you so much for your time tonight. just love to see the statue of liberty in the mist there like that. much more ahead as hurricane sandy continues to batter the eastern seaboard. back with more in a minute. you're watching "hardball."
welcome back to "hardball." a construction crane partially collapsed and part of it hangs precarious precariously. rehema ellis is there. thanks for joining us. this would normally be a local story but this is part of a much bigger story, this wacky, wacky, frightening storm that's hit us. >> reporter: it absolutely is, chris. i've been out here a couple hours and i must tell you that the wind gusts are picking up and becoming much more violent. police have created a collapse zone in the area immediately
around this building that you can see where this crane is dangerously perched now in a place where they wanted to make certain they keep everybody as safe as possible. they have ordered people to evacuate the apartment buildings, the businesses, even the hotel that's right in that area because they don't know what's going to happen with this thing. authorities say at about 2:30 in the afternoon when they got the report that the crane had tipped, the wind was blowing at about 20 miles an hour then with gusts up to 40 miles an hour. that tipped this crane. i think the winds are much stronger than that right now. they want to make certain if this thing snaps off it doesn't go flying into an apartment building and then who knows what would happen before it crashes to the ground. chris? >> what's it look like there between now and midnight in new york city where you're at right in midtown? what's going to happen tonight? >> reporter: right. that's a good question. hopefully people will get off the streets. authorities, the police, the fire department, the city building department, they have brought over inspectors. they're going to try to go up as far as they can on this
construction site. it is now a 65-story building scheduled to go up to 90 stories. it's going to be one of the most expensive luxury apartment buildings in new york city. but it's under construction. they're going to try to get guys up there to see what, if anything, they can do, but these winds are violent right now. and i don't know, but i'm not an expert, i don't know if they can do anything until the winds calm down. chris? >> thank you for that report from midtown manhattan, rehema ellis in new york city. you're watching "hardball's" live coverage, you can see it now, of hurricane sandy. what a story. back with more after this.
welcome back to "hardball." when you think hurricane, you don't think of snow and yet that's what many americans on the western side of this storm are facing. janel klein from the weather channel is with me from snowshoe, west virginia. wow, janel, you look out of
place in a storm story but i'm sure you're not out of place in west virginia. how does that relate to what we watched in new york city with the crane coming down and everybody going crazy in delaware beaches. how does it all connect? >> reporter: it's interesting. it's not something you would think of when you mention hurricane exactly like you said but this is a direct effect of sandy. this system dumping tons of snow in the west virginia region in snowshoe at the ski resort. they are getting about two feet of snow here, could be even more than that as this storm continues and also high winds a very big concern. the other big worry here is power outages. this snow really wet and heavy and as that's coming down and coating the power lines, that's a big worry here, that that's going to take out power. this area lost power this summer in a big windstorm, so now it's fearing it's going to happen again and, of course, with visibility so tough here and roads so covered in snow and sleet, very, very concerned that people are going to lose power
and not be able to get out. >> that's good snowball weather, as i remember, wet snow makes the best snowballs. probably not good for the economic health and safety. is there any danger in this kind of snowball weather moving east or getting beyond the snow mountain there? >> reporter: definitely more widespread than you might imagine. again, this system is a little unpredictable as we're seeing it move along the east coast. it's a bunch of things coming together. a lot of weird effects, things we haven't seen before. the national weather service has issued a blizzard warning and today it's saying it's probably the only time it has had to do that as a direct result of a hurricane. this is such a rare, rare condition and a rare set of circumstances we're seeing snow come from this but that's exactly what's happening here. certainly not expected here in west virginia and in this area, but we are getting quite a bit of snow and probably going to get a lot more before this system is over. >> i think this is nature saying, boo. anyway, thank you, janel klein, in snowshoe, west virginia. now back to the eastern seaboard
where hurricane sandy is running head long into the most populated areas of this country. the new york city region will be in the teeth of the storm tonight. already it's disrupted the city significantly. the new york stock exchange was shut down today and will be closed again tomorrow. major bridges and tunnels in and out of manhattan are closed or will stay closed or be closed soon. new york city's utility company, con ed sonsison is expecting re outages. tell us what's going on? we want to feel good about this. how is new york scrambling to deal with this? >> the good news is new york really isn't scrambling. we have a very well-organized office of emergency management, a command center with people staffing desks from every city agency, state agency, federal agency all working very cooperatively together. now, that said, this is an extreme storm. we have call for an evacuation of our zone a, that's 375,000
people. there's no way to know exactly but we think probably about half of those folks or somewhere around that have left. within this there have been a number, over 20, of our housing authority, public housing authority developments we've had to e vak wavacuate those. deals with hospitals and nursing homes in that area. it's happened in an orderly way. our first responders are out there. we are as ready as you can be for this storm and working very closely. mayor ploom bubloomberg with go cuomo on coordinating. we're taking this seriously, we've prepared, and we're there to help new yorkers get through the next hours or day of this storm. >> what's interesting is how all the politicians are getting along so well. your mayor, of course, with the governor, governor cue ono. great things of governor christi saying nice things about president obama. what's with the good will? is it necessity or does it bring together people? >> you have to hope that times like this when you're thrust
into the reality of the real work of government, which is about protecting people, saving people, keeping people safe, that that really makes everybody work together, and what you really also have to hope is that that experience will create a little muscle memory so the next time we have an issue that maybe isn't a natural disaster, we'll all remember how we worked so well together and how much better that is for the overall greater good. >> it doesn't always work this way. i mean, you sound very optimistic about what you have watched today, over seen it in the city with the other council members, but i think of john lindsay who basically was laughed out of office after one of these snowstorms, i think of jane bern in chicago, mayor nagin in new orleans. they blew it. >> you don't want ever want this to happen on your watch if you're a mayor or elected official and you don't want it to happen on your watch to some degree because of politics, but those folks were laughed out of office so to speak because they didn't deliver the services that
are the most core and most basic that their taxpayers pay for. this is what you show up to do every day if you're a municipal employee or elected official is things like this at the base. if you can't do this, people do have a right to be angry. >> okay. thank you so much, christine quinn, speaker of the house -- speaker of the city council in new york city. up next, the latest as hurricane sandy, what a strangely nice name for this horror, back with more in a minute on sandy.
hurricane sandy is expected to make landfall within the next hour or so in southern new jersey or the state of delaware. with me now by phone is delaware governor, jack markel. we're looking at a nice scene earlier but looking at some scary stuff at rehoboth. >> i just left rehoboth and dewey beach.
lots of flooding, rain, and wind. a lot more people in the last few hours having lost power and with this storm they could be without power for a week or more. >> what do you make of this storm? here we are late october, it's practically halloween and we're getting something that looks like it should have been hitting florida two months ago. this climate thing and then we're hearing snowfall in west virginia, the wind, we haven't seen the danger from the wind yet, it could be horrendous and it's coming out of nowhere. this time of year it's pretty calm weatherwise. >> this is usually a beautiful time of year in delaware and -- but talking to people who have been following this for a long time, they have never seen anything like this before. uncharted territories and that's why we've got a great community of first responders, emergency response personnel doing a great job. >> tell me about fema. i had a role back in the carter administration of putting that back together. apparently governor christie has said some nice things about it. do we have that tape of governor
christi he c christie that we can show it? i want you to react to this. >> thank the president for his telephone call inquiring about how things were going here and assured him that things were going well so far. he invited me to call him at any time if things are no the going well. we'll make sure we do that and appreciate the president's outreach today in making sure that we know that he's watching this and is concerned about the health and the welfare and safety of the people of the state of new jersey. >> that's the adjoining state of new jersey. you're governor of delaware, governor. tell us how this is being coordinated, give it a rating as of the past several hours, how is it going between femaened a the state level? >> fema is a ten and they have been. they were last year as well with irene. they've been absolutely terrific. they embed themselves with our own emergency management agencies so it's seamless. the president did have a call yesterday with all of us governors, a lot of mayors, and
he went one by one asking if there was anything he could do. i had an issue today, i got a response within about ten minutes. and that was from the white house as well. they've been terrific and we're really grateful for it. >> not to be too political but that's what i do here, governor romney in june of this year said we ought to think about getting rid of fema, it may not be necessary, the states can handle he's kinds of situations. your reaction? >> it's absurd. it really is. we have had issues here where the resources of the federal government are extraordinarily important. and we expect more of that. and i think, you know, again as you say not to get too political but what's the irony that here we are eight days before the election and people can be reminded of what he said i think just last year in one of these debates. >> solt here we go, give us a sense of you as governor of delaware, what is it going to look like in the next six hours, the next 12 hours? >> my biggest concern has to do with the power. i've been following over the
last few hours, you know, a significant increase in the number of delaware homes without power. that's going to increase and increase and it's going to take a while for the utility companies to get that fixed. so to me that's really the major issue. we have had driving restrictions and i'm appreciative that people seem to be following those. we've got shelters open and we expect the number of people using the shelters to increase a lot as people lose power. so just an amazing group of first responders throughout the state, red cross, national guard, everybody pulling together. that being said, mother nature is very, very powerful. people have to use common sense and treat this seriously. >> okay. governor jack markell, thank you for joining us. tonight the presidential campaign with just eight days left sits at a stand still with both president obama and governor romney canceling their events for tonight and tomorrow night. here to answer some of the political questions this storm brings to us is john nickel,
washington correspondent for the nation. the president of the united states has a big job, especially when you have fema working for you. he has all the powers of incumbency and all the powers to display how good an executive he is. romney, on the sidelines, the breaks of the game. >> it puts an awful lot on hold. people probably could never have imagined that a storm on the east coast of the united states would be canceling events in wisconsin and ohio, scrambling events just this afternoon in davenport, iowa. the fact of the matter is over the next two days barack obama and mitt romney and also paul ryan have canceled events as far away as colorado. not just because of concerns about the storm surge, but also because of concerns about the image. this is for better or worse an image game now, and nobody wants
to be seen out having fun campaigning or having a big event. >> but let me ask you about john mccain. we have recent example of john mccain, a recent example where a candidate called for an end to the campaign. he was going tocampaign. he was going to put up debates and everything else in the last election and he looked a little foolish. so tell me how that works. >> he did. >> explain. >> it's a careful balance here. when you say that you want to halt everything because there's a challenge, a disaster, an economic challenge, you better have some reason for it, something that is coming of it, and you also need to know when to restart. and that's going to be the great challenge over the next couple of days. look, the president of the united states is in an ideal position so long as the response to this disaster is well done. if there's a mess-up, as you have referenced earlier in this show, like in chicago in '79 with the snowstorm, that can blow back on the leader. but if this goes well, if the president comes off well, he
gains an advantage here. and for mitt romney, the great challenge is deciding when to go back into a campaign mode and there's a secondary challenge. how hard do you attack a president who seems to be putting all of his energy into helping the american people survive a storm? it's very hard to go out there and say what a bad guy he is. so this scrambles the rest of this campaign. chris, books will be written about this week. not just about the campaign and not just about the storm, but about the interplay of this storm and this campaign and they will be very fascinating books. >> it's bothered me for weeks now that the president hasn't been able to gain a natural incouple ben see and he's -- now he's forced to take advantage of incumbentcy. he has a job to do. earlier president obama warned the public of the sandy and downplayed the election itself.
listen. >> this is going to be a big storm. it's going to be a difficult storm. the great thing about america is when we go through tough times like this, we all pull together. we look out for our friends, we look out for our neighbors, and, you know, we set aside whatever issues we may otherwise to make sure that we respond appropriately and with swiftness and that's exactly what i anticipate is going to happen here. >> the impact of the election, sir? >> i have not worried at this point about the impact on the election. i'm worried about the impacts on families and i'm worried about the impact on our first responders. i'm worried about the impact on our economy and on transportation. you know, the election will take care of itself next week. right now our number one priority is to make sure that we are saving lives. >> well, that was answered rather well. what do you think, john? >> well, you know, it's often said that president obama is too cool, too calm.
and yet here you see it playing perfectly. this is a calm, focused president of the united states. not -- no hyper bolly, big theater, talking people through a very difficult situation, in a way that they would want to be talked to, as adults, responsible people, pay attention, be cool. and then when the election comes up, being able to say, look, my focus is on people's safety. if we're honest with each other, we also know that the president of the united states has in the back of their head in reality there is an election in a week. but this puts, to my mind, barack obama's strongest position. he is very good at a moment like this. and so i think americans are, for better or worse, if we understand politics, being reintroduced to their president in a meek, unprecedented way that could very well have a great deal of significance in
how they decide to vote in a week. >> how long do you think it will take for donald trump to take a crack at engineering this? >> well, you know, already there's been blog traffic saying absurd things. but, you know, look, here's the bottom line reality. as much as we suggest that the president of the united states looks good in this situation, that it does give him a platform, there is great peril in this and there's great political challenges. if something isn't handled well, people can get very angry and we're looking at the start of a storm. three or four days into a natural disaster when power hasn't been restored, people can get very angry and very upset. so i think we should recognize that barack obama has the advantage of incouple ben see here but also the great overwhelming challenge of a presidency on his shoulder's at a time when americans are going through something that is historically unprecedented. i looked back in history to try to find something like this. the equivalent is not in natural
disasters, it is in military, franklin roosevelt dealing with world war ii. that is the equivalent, something so big that it draws attention from the presidential race. >> well said. thank you so much, john nichols, for joining us tonight. when we come back, more on hurricane sandy in just a minute.
>> well said.
let me finish tonight, again, with this storm, they are
called black swans, the unpredictable, unknown forces that enter a campaign in the last week and change the course of mighty rivers. there was george w.'s admission of driving under an influence charge. his real crime, i would say, is leading this country under dick cheney. the black swan now swooping across the east coast carries with it all the unpredictables and unknowns for which the species owes its name. it swoops in, it is dark with mystery. this storm will pass, thank god, but what it leaves in its trail is still a stranger. i've said for days, the power of the first presidential debate would not operate on until acted upon by an outlaw force and it applies to politics as well. ladies and gentlemen, an outside force, which ever direction it takes is upon us. a black swan now has us on it is wings. and that's "hardball" for now. "politicsnation" with al sharpton